The U.S. seems to be stuck on repeat.
Our government and our media have been peddling lies to justify war, from WMDs in Iraq to humanitarian intervention in Libya.
The latest? A U.S.-led missile strike on Syria for the alleged use chemical weapons on civilians. This, just a week after President Trump said we were ready to get our troops out of that country.
Time and time again, history has proven that our government has made the wrong choice in its efforts to overthrow authoritarian governments in the Middle East, from Iraq to Libya, and now Syria.
But this time, the U.S. is meddling in a country where multiple countries are playing out a proxy war, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Not to mention the heightened tensions from our president calling out Russia for its support of the Assad regime.
The big picture question: will we see this war escalate into a global conflict?
This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
So much has happened in Syria in the past two weeks: an alleged gas attack by the Assad regime, missile strikes blamed on Israel hit Syria and killed some 14 people, including Iranians, then President Trump announcing late Friday that the U.S. had launched its own missile attack on Syria in coordination with allies France and the United Kingdom.
Strong words from the president for not only Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, but also for his allies Iran and Russia.
As we reported last week, it was just a year ago that Trump authorized the first missile strike on Syria. So what did this new bombing involve?
Here’s what we know: the missile strikes hit just before dawn in Syria. They were carried out by manned U.S. military aircraft, and targeted an airfield, an alleged chemical weapons storage and manufacture facility, and command and control of the Syrian air defenses.
And while this barrage of air strikes is over, the pentagon did not rule out further strikes later.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis had previously stated that there was no evidence that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad used sarin gas on his own people. Now Mattis seems to be telling a different story.
To be clear, our government is claiming that there is evidence of a chlorine gas attack, and is framing this bombing as a retaliatory measure to stop Assad from gassing his own people, a humanitarian action.
Yet, as the financial times reported last Wednesday, it will take weeks to confirm if deadly gas was used, and by whom.
Again, Mattis said there is no evidence Assad used sarin gas on his own people. And why would Assad? What motive does the Syrian government have to gas attack civilians if it would only risk western retaliation?
Remember, the U.S., U.K. and France have been arming Syrian rebels bombing ISIS and putting boots on the ground in Syria for years. 2017 marked the first direct targeting of Assad’s government, and now this missile strike. Both labeled as humanitarian efforts.
But remember, the U.S. government has a history of taking humanitarian action without evidence.
Remember when Colin Powell and others in the Bush Administration said there was no doubt that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? He didn’t.
The lies continued, with claims that after our invasion of Iraq the extremists would be curtailed. Yet with some 4,500 American lives lost and $2.4 trillion spent, Iraq is still a mess.
And what about Libya? In an episode of Reality Check from early March, we covered the open market slave trade happening there as a result of U.S. intervention. Even former President Obama said the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi was his greatest single mistake in office.
Our elected leaders never seem to learn from these mistakes. And the mainstream media is severely failing in holding them accountable.
Case in point, these latest strikes were authorized by the president, not congress. Congressional leaders were notified by the vice president shortly before the airstrikes were carried out. And many members of congress were angry at the president for not getting congressional approval before taking action against Assad.
Back in 2013, Trump criticized then-President Obama on Twitter for even considering striking Syria without congressional approval, saying:
“The president must get congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!”
What you need to know is that history tends to repeat itself, if we let it. Our government could very well be trying to do the same thing in Syria as it has done in Libya and Iraq.
And the trail goes back further. There’s a Wikileaks cable from 2006 detailing how to overthrow Assad, including radicalizing Islamists in the region.
Yet President Trump says this bombing was a targeted attack to stop the use of chemical weapons, that’s it. U.K. prime minister Theresa May took it further, stating that “this is not about regime change.”
It’s hard to believe when history tells a different story.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that on social media.
NOTE: The flag used in the graphics for this episode should have been the Syrian Arab Republic flag with two green stars, not the Syrian Interim Government flag with three red stars.